This entry was originally posted on Sunday, September 2, 2012
A couple of weeks ago I discovered a question in the comment section of Sunday Secrets #21
which is about gum arabic, the binder in watercolor paint.
The question is
I have got Gum Arabic granules, how can I make binder from these granules?
That is a good question and one that I am not entirely sure of how to answer. I have never worked with the granules, just the liquid form.
However, I did some research and I hope what I found can help.
First of all, gum arabic is easily dissolved in water (hot or cold) when it is in powder form.
It might also be easily dissolved as granules.
You can give it a try.
If not, you might be able to grind it into powder form, the same way that pigments are ground.
With a mortar and pestle.
(but NOT your kitchen one, please use one set aside just for your painting)
A good ratio is 1 gram of powder dissolved into 2 ml of water.
This should flow easily.
I would suggest using distilled water.
(This is what I use when grinding my own pigments. It has fewer impurities)
Now you will have a liquid form of gum arabic.
Once you have the liquid gum arabic, you can add it to powdered pigment or dried out watercolor paint with a dropper.
A good ratio for this seems to be 3:1 or 4:1 of water to gum arabic
(3-4 drops of water to one drop of gum arabic)
Add the gum arabic and the water to the pigment until you get a nice creamy consistency that you can paint with.
Extra gum arabic can be added to your paint to increase the flow and to make it glossier.
However, too much gum arabic will cause the paint to crack and flake off.